This is a big step in our adoption - and a very important piece of paperwork that we have to have before sending our dossier to Thailand. I should've celebrated when I opened that envelope... but instead I burst into tears.
This adoption thing is hard ya'll.
The truth is, I'm THRILLED that we got this approval, but I'm also feeling really, really guilty that the rest of our dossier isn't finished. Our hope when we mailed off our I800A was that we'd have our dossier legalized and ready to go to Thailand when this approval came in. Now we're probably another 3 weeks away.
And this time it's no ones fault but mine.
I've blamed my lack of progress on a lot of distractions... several trips out of town, the unexpected and truly heartbreaking death of one of our close friends, and a summer cold that will.not.go.away. - but if I'm being honest, a big part of it is just the fact that I am really struggling to be productive and focused and finish this last leg of our paperwork "race".
The truth is, I am worn out. I started this process with so much excitement and commitment and I just knew we were going to get things done so quickly! I am a detail person... I am an excellence person... and I like to check off a good "to do" list. Unfortunately though, every single step of this process has been an uphill climb. Finding an agency is usually something that takes a couple of weeks, a phone call or two, and a short application. Ours took a year of disappointing, frustrating, heartbreaking phone calls and emails and internet searches. Completing a home study is a somewhat invasive, but usually pretty simple process. For most people it takes 3 months or less. Ours was an emotionally, mentally exhausting YEAR of mind-numbing paperwork and frustrating phone calls. This paperwork portion (application, homestudy, dossier) of our process has taken 9 times longer than it should have taken. It usually takes around 3 months to get your paperwork ready to send overseas. But we are in the middle of month 27 of pursuing our child, and our paperwork still isn't in Thailand.
I'm not writing all that to vent or complain.... (okay... maybe I am... a little...) I don't want to come off as whiny or negative, and I certainly don't want to discourage anyone else from considering adoption (our journey thus far is not at all the "norm"!). I'm sharing this as kind of a confession. I don't really feel angry or bitter... I just feel tired. It's as if I set out on a 3 mile run on flat ground only to find myself in the middle of an 27 mile uphill hike. I've been running really slowly these last few weeks (and I'm frustrated with myself for it.) But mentally, I just wasn't prepared for this. And I think I'm finding it harder to trust in the process... hard to believe any sort of timeline or expectation. Which gives me a terrible "unsettled" feeling about what will happen next (and fears about the rest of our process that I'm having to battle.) I know there are lots of "unknowns" in the adoption process - and I was prepared for long wait times AFTER our paperwork was finished. I just wasn't prepared for such a difficult first two years. This was supposed to be the "easy" part! I think it's all beaten me down more than I realized.
You know, you think you're prepared when you begin your adoption journey, but nothing - no book, no blog, no conference, no friend's experience - can ever prepare you for what this process does to your head and your heart.
So as I confess where I am (and beat myself up for not being more productive the past few weeks), would you mind saying a quick prayer for me? A prayer that I will be able to fight discouragement and fear? A prayer that I can hold it together and get this paperwork FINISHED in the next 2 weeks? A prayer that nothing will get lost in the mail, and that everyone I talk to and meet with (all government officials) will be helpful and kind?
Thank you in advance, sweet friends, for holding me up and helping me get to this finish line!